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What Are the Odds on The Wyoming Cowboys This Fall?

in News/wyoming cowboys football
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***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Tracy Ringolsby, guest columnist

After taking the Kansas City Royals to division titles in his first three seasons as the team’s manager, the Royals slipped to second place in 1979, which led to Whitey Herzog’s firing,

“I must have taken a lot of dumb pills in the off-season,” Herzog quipped.

Such is the world of professional sports for head coaches/manager.

Now, Craig Bohl isn’t close to being fired as the Wyoming head coach. He has created a solid foundation for long-term development. But sometimes even the best of plans get sidetracked.

After the Cowboys were bowl eligible for four seasons from 2016-2019, Wyoming got caught up in a season that was thrown out of sorts by the outbreak of COVID-19. 

After the delayed start to a season, in which the schedule was eventually reduced from 12 games to eight, starting quarterback Sean Chambers was lost for the season with a broken ankle suffered on the third play of the season opener at Nevada, and then, in the middle of a belated season, the Cowboys wound up with three consecutive weeks without a game to play, and only two out of the six games they did play were at home.

How bad was it? 

Well, after having  Air Force back out of a Nov. 14 visit to Laramie because of COVID issues, the Cowboys got blindsided by Utah State, which less than 24 hours before a scheduled Nov. 19 game in Laramie, claimed it had covid issues and backed out of the game — even though Utah State was back on the field and playing just a week later, far from the normal isolation period.

And so, in the fickled world of national media Bohl has gone from being the highest ranked Mountain West football coach (and rated No. 74 overall, including the Power 5 schools). In The Sporting News’ annual rating of Division 1 coaches poll last summer, Bohl ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference, 74th overall.

This year, he has slipped to 93rd overall, and fifth best among the 12 Mountain West coaches in 2021.

Obviously, the folks in Vegas see things differently. In he  Betoline@ag early line, Boise State is projected for 9 wins, and Wyoming is next in line with an over/under win total of 8 1/2.

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Wyoming AD Tom Burman Named to College Football Playoff Selection Committee

in News/University of Wyoming
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Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman today was named to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

Burman will be on the 13-member panel which selects the weekly top 25 rankings beginning each November and leads to the selection of the four teams that compete in the College Football Playoff. The committee also selects the New Year’s Day bowl games.

“It’s a special honor,” Burman told Mountain West Conference Network host Jesse Kurtz. “When you look at the committees available in college football, this is definitely one of the premiere committees. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Burman was joined by Colorado Athletic Director Rick George and former Penn State player John Urschel.

The group replaces former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, Robert Morris University president Chris Howard and Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens as their terms expired in December.

Burman has been the athletic director at the University of Wyoming for 14 years.

During his time as athletics director at UW, Burman has led over $120 million in fundraising projects. 

Among the most high profile of those projects is Wyoming’s new $44 million Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center (HAPC), which opened in August  of 2018. 

The facility is home to Cowboy Football, and it also benefits all Wyoming’s student-athletes with two new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning areas, an expansive academic center, a comprehensive sports medicine area and a cutting edge training table.  

Arizona Bowl was Wyoming Triumph, but also for Tuscon Local Charities

in sports/Dave Bonner/Column
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By Dave Bonner, Powell Tribune

So it isn’t an ESPN bowl game.

That didn’t matter to fans of the University Wyoming and Georgia State University football teams who squared off Dec. 31 in the Arizona Bowl at Tucson.  And it sure isn’t a big deal to the folks who own, promote and produce the Arizona Bowl.

In fact, it’s by design. You can add a couple of exclamation points to that statement.

Of the 40 bowl games played this year, only two were not televised and controlled by ESPN/ABC, Fox Sports and CBS.

The Tucson Bowl was one of them. It was televised nationally by CBS Sports Network, a step down from the big names in sports broadcasting (61 million households vs. 86 million households for ESPN).  

The key is the matter of control.  To Tucson attorney Ali Farhang, the brains and the face behind the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, it’s everything.  He is the principal founder of the Arizona Bowl and the chairman of the board of the group which owns the bowl, now in its fifth year. 

He and his founding partners are insistent that the Arizona Bowl is a community-driven event. That’s one way of saying that bowl decisions will serve Tucson’s interest, not national TV programming.

That starts with game day scheduling and start time. An afternoon kickoff for the Arizona Bowl on New Year’s Eve is non-negotiable.

Tucson weather delivered for the Arizona Bowl last week. Fans basked under bright sun and a temperature of 62 degrees for the 2:30 p.m. game. 

Tim Medcoff, a law partner with Farhang who is also intimately involved in the Arizona Bowl, said the vision for the bowl grew out of a desire to remove “kind a black cloud over Tucson from days gone by.” He referred to the fact that Tucson in recent years had lost the Copper Bowl, MLB spring training,  PGA and LPGA tour events.

The road back, in the collective mind of Farhang and colleagues, was to look inward.

“Ali’s all about promoting everything that’s great about Tucson,” Medcoff said. “That includes the sunny weather of southern Arizona, the Air Force and military presence, the hospitality of the area and the great non-profits — the people who care about making others’ lives better.”

The economic impact in the area from a successful bowl game is, of course, a big deal. But giving  back to the community is not simply lip service either. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl is one of a kind in donating all bowl proceeds to non-profits in the community.

“We do everything we can to make things better for Tucson,” Medcoff said. “We want to give back.”

And for the record, the Tucson Bowl is happy to have the CBS Sports Network as a partner.

“They told us they support everything we’re doing,” Medcoff said.

Final numbers have not been tabulated, but game producers expect that up to $400,000 in cash will be generated for non-profits of the community.  That’s net proceeds from ticket sales and concessions.

Wyoming did its part. The Cowboys scored a 38-17 win over Georgia State of the Sun Belt Conference on the field, but that’s not all. Some 10,000 Brown and Gold clad fans helped propel Tucson Bowl beer sales to a new record.

Kym Adair, who pulls most of the levers in making bowl operations go, said she was excited by the strong showing of Wyoming fans that pushed bowl game attendance to 36,892.

She should be.

Sales of cold ones broke the previous bowl game record by $100,000. If you’re counting, that record $100,000 translates into 14,285 more of the 16-ounce drafts sold at $7 each than in any previous year.  

A new official Arizona Bowl Brew was introduced at the game, a product of the local Barrio Brewing Co. Wyoming fans gave it a big thumbs up.

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